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J Affect Disord. 2013 Sep 5;150(2):610-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Structural brain alterations in bipolar disorder II: a combined voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) study.

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  • 1Neurosciences, Mental Health, and Sensory Organs (NESMOS) Department, Sapienza University, School of Medicine and Psychology, Unit of Psychiatry, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, Rome 00189, Italy. ambrosi.e@libero.it



Brain structural changes have been described in bipolar disorder (BP), but usually studies focused on both I and II subtypes indiscriminately and investigated changes in either brain volume or white matter (WM) integrity. We used combined voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) analysis to track changes in the grey matter (GM) and WM in the brains of patients affected by BPII, as compared to healthy controls.


Using VBM and DTI, we scanned 20 DSM-IV-TR BPII patients in their euthymic phase and 21 healthy, age- and gender-matched volunteers with no psychiatric history.


VBM showed decreases in GM of BPII patients, compared to controls, which were diffuse in nature and most prominent in the right middle frontal gyrus and in the right superior temporal gurus. DTI showed significant and widespread FA reduction in BPII patients in all major WM tracts, including cortico-cortical association tracts.


The small sample size limits the generalisability of our findings.


Reduced GM volumes and WM integrity changes in BPII patients are not prominent like those previously reported in bipolar disorder type-I and involve cortical structures and their related association tracts.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Bipolar disorder; Diffusion tensor imaging; Type II; Voxel-based morphometry

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